Grand Prix Vancouver 2012

It's all over! Avacyn Restored limited as gone out with a bang. The Top 8 was littered with new names and faces. A few came in with one or no byes and battled valiantly all weekend to earn their place at the top. In the end, it was David Stroud's aggressive deck with red and green that cleaned house, dream-crushing the dream crusher, Jeremey Schofield. Schofield had not dropped a match all weekend. And I mean all weekend. One bye, no draws; the man was unstoppable. But Stroud stood proud and swiftly ripped Schofield limb from limb in front of everyone, surprisingly with the meek Scalding Devil to deal the final points.

So now it's time to depart Vancouver and depart from the restored world of Angels. It's a sad departure to leave the Seraph of Dawn s, the Thatcher Revolt s, the Trusted Forcemage s. But the World Magic Cup is fast approaching, as is M13. There's a lot on the horizon, and time waits for no Angel.

top 8 bracket


(5) Marcin Sciesinski

(7) Sean Peterson

(1) Jeremey Schofield

(4) Brian Wong

(8) Morgan Chang

(3) Steven Riecken

(6) David Stroud

(2) Colin Miller


Marcin Sciesinski 

Jeremey Schofield

David Stroud

Steven Riecken


Jeremey Schofield

David Stroud


David Stroud 2-0







1. David Stroud $3,500
2. Jeremey Schofield $2,300
3. Steven Riecken $1,500
4. Marcin Sciesinski $1,500
5. Colin Miller $1,000
6. Brian Wong $1,000
7. Sean Peterson $1,000
8. Morgan Chang $1,000

pairings, results, standings


15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Event Coverage Staff

Colin Miller

Age: 25
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Occupation: Door-to-Door Salesman/Poker Player

Previous Magic accomplishments:

9th Place GP Vancouver 2008
Top 64 GP Montreal 2011
Day 2 GP – Last 4 of them, all limited

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

R/G – splash Blue for Into the Void. Had 1 Borderland Ranger and 1 Abundant Growth. My best card was Aggravate.

What was your plan for this draft format?

R/W, R/G, U/R or U/W, R/G/U

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

R/W – 2-1
R/G/U – 2-0-1

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

Seraph of Dawn

Morgan Chang

Age: 30
Hometown: NYC

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Some GP Day 2s

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Sigarda Host of Herons, Moonsilver Spear, Champion of Lambholt, Cathars’ Crusade, Herald of War. Played G/W Angels (Basically) with 2 Seraph of Dawn, etc.
Went 9-0

What was your plan for this draft format?

Good cards.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

U/B (1-2); W/R (2-1)

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

Butcher Ghoul and how vital it is to black’s curve and utility.

Sean Peterson

Age: 26
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Occupation: Health Economist

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Nothing Noteworthy

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Deadeye Navigator, G/W/U, 12-2-1

What was your plan for this draft format?

Keep it simple.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

U/G both times; 3-0, 2-0-1

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?


David Zadok Stroud

Age: 28
Hometown: Portland, OR
Occupation: IT

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Couple of Day 2s including Pro Tour Philadelphia and Grand Prix Seattle.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Mist Raven, U/W, 8-1, 2 byes.

What was your plan for this draft format?

Open Bonfire of the Damned. This plan did not work as intended. Many practice drafts with the “Draft-PDX” group, so I had some experience with all archetypes.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

U/B, 2-0-1
B/R, 2-1

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

It has surprised me that the “unbeatable” cards in fact turned out to be unbeatable. Normally answers emerge over a format’s lifetime. This time, they did not.

Steve Riecken

Age: 21
Hometown: North Vancouver
Occupation: Student

Previous Magic accomplishments:


What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

I played G/W/U and my best card was Silverblade Paladin followed by Wolfir Silverheart. Undefeated Day 1 with no byes.

What was your plan for this draft format?

Take it as it comes. Win.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

U/B - 2-1
U/W – 2-0-1

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

Abundant Growth. With three in sealed, I could do anything I wanted.

Jeremey Schofield

Age: 30
Hometown: Magic Stronghold of Canada, Edmonton, AB
Occupation: Construction Labourer

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Nothing of Note

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Wolfir Silverheart, U/G Tempo, 9-0

What was your plan for this draft format?

Three- and Four-drops, early pressure, avoid bounce vulnerability.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

R/G – 3-0
W/G – 3-0

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

The 2/1 Lifelink Soulbond guy [Nearheath Pilgrim]. So annoying!

Marcin Sciesinski

Age: 33
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
Occupation: Principal Software Engineer

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Top 32 in GP Paris – Zendikar/Worldwake Limited

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Infinite Reflection + Howl...wolf [Howlgeist]. Finished 7-2.

What was your plan for this draft format?

Stay with pick one; try to avoid black.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

G/U – 3-0
W/B/u – 2-0-1

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

Infinite Reflection

Brian Wong

Age: 28
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Occupation: Chemist

Previous Magic accomplishments:

4-5 points

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Wolfir Silverheart. G/R/b to get the highest most level. 8-1 w/ one bye.

What was your plan for this draft format?

Take whatever I felt was being passed. I prioritize the early game.

What color combinations did you draft today and what were your records?

U/W – 3-0
U/W – 1-1-1

Over the course of the format, which card has surprised you the most?

Top 8 - Decklists

by Josh Bennett

Sam Peterson Top 8

Colin Miller Top 8

David Stroud Top 8

Morgan Chang Top 8

Steve Riecken Top 8

Marcin Sciesinski Top 8

Jeremy Schofield Top 8

Brian Wong Top 8

Quarterfinal - Marcin Sciesinski vs. Sean Peterson

by Josh Bennett

Game 1

Sciesinski finished higher in the Swiss, so he earned the option, and naturally chose to play. He led with Somberwald Vigilante . Peterson answered with Nephalia Smuggler . Sciesinski hit for one and played out Kruin Striker . Peterson had no play on two mana and had to watch as Sciesinski summoned Hanweir Lancer and paired it with his Striker, attacking for four.

Peterson needed defence. He had to settle for Searchlight Geist . That wasn't much help against Thatchers' Revolt. suddenly he was down to just four life. With his back against the wall, Peterson played Mist Raven , sending the Kruin Striker home. Sciesinski repaired it and swung with just his Lancer. Peterson thought for a moment and let it through, falling to two. He played a fifth land and passed with all his mana at his disposal.

Sciesinski tapped three for Fervent Cathar and Peterson held him up a moment before allowing it to resolve. The Mist Raven was stunned into not blocking. Sciesinski swung in. Peterson put his Smuggler in front of the Cathar and his Geist on the Lancer, then played Ghostly Flicker on his Raven and Smuggler. This sent the Striker back to Sciesinski's hand, leaving the Lancer without first strike. It traded with the Geist. Peterson was alive at one. Sciesinski replayed his Striker and passed.

Peterson drew and passed, needing his Smuggler mana. Sciesinski played Heirs of Stromkirk and attacked. Mist Raven blocked the Vigilante, Nephalia Smuggler blocked Fervent Cathar , then flickered the Raven to bounce the Kruin Striker . The Smuggler and Cathar traded and Peterson was still alive. Again Sciesinski replayed the Striker.

However Peterson had found the foothold he needed. He played Homicidal Seclusion and hit for five in the air, going up to six life. A creature from Sciesinski would kill him, but Sciesinski was on all lands. He dropped Peterson back to one. Peterson drained another six and played Havengul Skaab . Now Sciesinski could only do three. Worse, Peterson could attack with his Skaab and bounce his Raven, turning on the Seclusion for another big life swing. It only took one more turn for Sciesinski to pack up his cards.

Peterson 1 - Sciesinski 0

Marcin Sciesinski

Game 2

Despite going second again, Peterson was first on the board in game two with Alchemist's Apprentice . Sciesinski had to wait until turn three for a Hanweir Lancer . Peterson played Blood Artist and passed. Sciesinski paired up Fervent Cathar with the Lancer, preventing the Apprentice from blocking and hitting for a quick four.

Peterson tapped out for Stern Mentor . Sciesinski's first strikers hit again, and this time the Apprentice got to save some damage, draining for one while it gave Peterson a card. Sciesinski added Heirs of Stromkirk to the board. Peterson milled him for two, then untapped and sent the Heirs back with Mist Raven .

Sciesinski untapped with a sigh. He swung for another four and Peterson took it quickly. Stuck on four land, he replayed his Heirs of Stromkirk . Peterson milled him for four. Peterson paired Tandem Lookout with his Mist Raven , then attacked to draw a card. He had no sixth land, and passed back with two mana open.

Sciesinski found a fifth mountain waiting on top of his deck and slammed Aggravate . Peterson checked that he had twenty-one cards left in his library and did a little figuring. He tapped his Blood Artist to mill for two, then let it resolve. Sciesinski attacked all-out. Peterson played Death Wind for one to get rid of the Fervent Cathar and then traded Stern Mentor for the unpaired Lancer. He was down to eleven.

Peterson hit for two and played Havengul Skaab . Sciesinski untapped, drew his card, and a big grin spread across his face. He flipped over Thunderous Wrath to drop Peterson to six. His 3/3 Heirs made it three, and Thunderbolt finished the job.

Peterson 1 - Sciesinski 1

Sean Peterson

Game 3

Sciesinksi agonized over his opening hand. After a full minute of thinking he declared "I am a gambler! I keep!"

He started things off with Somberwald Vigilante . Peterson put Alchemist's Apprentice in the way and drew a card, and Sciesinski continued to curve out with Kruin Striker . Peterson played his third land but made no play. Sciesinski summoned a second Striker and attacked, but Death Wind took care of the attacking Striker. Sciesinski passed, having failed to find a third land.

Peterson put his shields up with Galvanic Alchemist . Sciesinski missed again on his draw, and reluctantly cast Guise of Fire on the Alchemist. Peterson played Tandem Lookout and paired it up with his Alchemist, attacking for two damage and a card. A little more calculating, and Peterson decided not to take any chances. He played Bone Splinters , sacrificing the Alchemist to get rid of the Kruin Striker .

It was just in time. Sciesinski plucked a mountain and cast Thatcher Revolt , attacking for four. And now it was Peterson's turn to be stuck on lands. Three swamps and an island. He could only attack with his Lookout and pass. Sciesinski found a fourth land and quickly aimed Demolish at Peterson's lone island. Ghostly Flicker made the save. Sciesinski hit for one with his Vigilante.

Peterson drew and frowned. He hit for another two and passed back. Sciesinski played another Thatcher Revolt , and supercharged it with Banners Raised . Peterson was forced to Peel from Reality his Lookout and the Vigilante, taking six down to eight. He untapped and played Bloodflow Connoisseur . Sciesinski summoned his Vigilante, then Fervent Cathar to knock Peterson to six.

Peterson replayed his Tandem Lookout and attacked for one and a card. Sciesinski was happy to let it through. Giddy, almost. The reason soon became clear. Another Fervent Cathar from his hand, and suddenly Peterson was at two. Then Sciesinski turned over Pillar of Flame , taking the match.

Marcin Sciesinski defeats Sean Peterson 2-1

Quarterfinal - David Stroud vs. Colin Miller

by Seamus Campbell

Northwest natives Colin Miller and David Stroud, representing British Columbia and Oregon respectively, sat down to their first professional Top 8 matches and shuffled in silence. Miller, a 9th-place finisher in the 2008 edition of GP Vancouver, was on the play, thanks to his second-place ranking in the Swiss standings. Stroud received a reminder from a judge that his two Missed Trigger warnings meant that he would need to play extra carefully, and the players set to it.

Game 1

Colin showed his opponent an Island and a Forest , but had no play before David's Kruin Striker hit play. A second Kruin Striker landed on the following turn, but Crippling Chill slowed Stroud's offense. A fourth turn came and went for Miller, still with no action in the main phase, but his plan became clear on the following turn when a Kessig Malcontents met a Geist Snatch .

Over the next couple turns, Colin made an end-step Wolfir Avenger and a Galvanic Alchemist , gumming up the board and allowing for some offense against Stroud's pair of Kruin Striker s and an Angel's Tomb , knocking Stroud down to 13 over a few turns. Trying to get some offense going, David plunked down a Nettle Swine and sent his team in, but Galvanic Alchemist 's soulbond ability untapped the Avenger, and he only suffered three points of damage, before stealing the Nettle Swine with Spirit Away . Stroud's draw step was no help and he reached for his sideboard to get ready for the next game.

Miller 1 - Stroud 0

Colin Miller

Game 2

Each player brought in a couple cards for the followup. Stroud, on the play, was unhappy with his first hand and sent it back. Miller kept; Stroud liked his six better, and game two was underway. The first action was a Hanweir Lancer on David's third turn, which Chris tried to hold off with a Haunted Guardian . A Bladed Bracers meant that the Guardian was outclassed, and David began to mount an offense, adding a Scalding Devil on the next turn. When Miller asked Stroud whether he was soulbonding the two, Stroud suggested it was premature until Miller declined to counter. Stroud's attack met a long period of thought from his opponent, who eventually took 3, going to 15 life.

Miller was stuck on four lands, but slowed things down with an Into The Void on both of the red creatures. Stroud replayed both, and added an Archwing Dragon on the following turn, which took the Bracers and got in for 5. Miller, with many cards, had no action. Stroud, on his next turn, spent a long time looking at the top card of his deck, before adding it to his hand, possibly signaling a premature Miracle of some sort. A Borderland Ranger helped the land situation for Colin, and a Peel From Reality on David's turn brought the Ranger back for more assistance, as well as slowing the offense a bit. The Dragon took him to 6 on the next turn, and Miller made a Wolfir Avenger at end of turn, and a Griff Vanguard on his own before passing.

David (perhaps thinking about his warnings) alerted the judge that Colin had failed to draw to the Vanguard's trigger, and Colin admitted that he thought it was a goes-to-the-graveyard trigger. The judge's explanation that the trigger is considered lapsing under the newest rules for handling such things—meaning that there would be no late draw for Colin—was appealed after a brief discussion, but to no avail.

The Vanguard jumped in front of the Archwing Dragon on the following turn, eliciting chuckles and a few jokes from the players about the imagined leaves-play trigger, but without the ability to dig deeper into his deck, and without an answer in hand, Miller was forced to concede.

Miller 1 - Stroud 1

David Stroud

Game 3

The players loosened up a bit before the deciding game, discussing their travel to various events around the West Coast and across Canada. Colin, on the play, considered his hand briefly before keeping it, and David quickly followed him.

Monocolored boards rolled out on both sides— Forest s for Miller and Mountain s for Stroud—and Stroud's Hanweir Lancer was the first play. Chris had no fourth land and no play, and David gave some serious thought to whether a Wolfir Avenger was laying in wait for his Lancer. Finally, with a shrug, he turned it sideways, and Chris had no response. David added a Nettle Swine , and it became clear on the following turn, when Miller discarded a Howlgeist , that he was in serious trouble. Could he find a miracle (like, for instance, an Island ) on the top of his deck? He could not, and Stroud advanced to the semifinals.

David Stroud defeats Colin Miller 2-1

Quarterfinal - Steven Riecken vs. Morgan Chang

by Marc Calderaro

Both of these stories are already pretty stellar. Morgan Chang, after going undefeated through ten rounds, had his Top 8 hopes almost ripped from his lungs when he was dream crushed by this weekend's dream crusher of choice Jeremey Schofield in the last round. But Magically, Chang was the eighth seed by breakers that were just slightly better than Paul Rietzl's. He's ecstatic to be here and it shows. He has a wide smile and is laughing pretty heartily.

Steven Riecken's rise is just about as meteoric. This Grand Prix is his first large-scale event, and he came in with a grand total of zero byes. He went 9-0 the first day, and road that to his first Top 8 berth. The winner of this match will be qualified for the next Pro Tour, so there's a lot riding on this match.

Chang was fairly happy with his deck, but when I asked Riecken about his, as I was leafing through his 40, he shrugged and said, "I'm just really happy to have made the Top 8." He smiled. Then I actually noticed what I was looking at – A Green-White Angel deck with Angel of Glory's Rise and multiple Defy Death ... and Humans, lots of humans. Well, this would certainly be interesting.

Game 1

Steven Riecken kept his hand and started with a big life swing with Cathedral Sanctifier plus an attack (four-point swing for those counting at home). A Thraben Valiant soon joined, and when it rumbled into combat, Chang happily traded away his first-turn Wingcrafter for the 2/1. Riecken brought an Emancipation Angel to the party and the next turn replay his Cathedral Sanctifier for more life gain goodness.

After a couple rounds of attacks, Chang was down to 11. He laid a Gryff Vanguard followed by a Nettle Swine for some defense, and for some killing. The Vanguard did its duty by slaughtering an Angel (with the help of Terrifying Presence , the next turn). When Chang top-decked a Vanishment the next turn, Riecken's last semblance of a threat (a Nearheath Pilgrim ) was relegated to the top of his library.

Morgan Chang

Now Chang took to developing his board. He added an Alchemist's Apprentice and an unpaired Flowering Lumberknot . Then he cast Peel from Reality to get some more value out of his Gryff Vanguard . He had knocked Riecken back down to 17, then 13, but he still had more to go, and was down to 8 himself. So Chang just kept the beats coming.

Riecken used a Defy Death to net a 5/5 Emancipation Angel onto the battlefield, then paired it with his Nearheath Pilgrim for extra lifelinking action.

Chang, sensing he had to work to keep the board swinging for him, used an Apprentice to find a Soulbonder with which to pair his Lumberknot . He found a Nightshade Peddler and the two players agreed to trade the Angel for the Tree. Chang continued to press and started sending in his Nettle Swine again, this time with a flying Fettergeist (who, I might add, cost four each upkeep to maintain).

This press kept Riecken on his toes, but when he tapped seven mana, slammed down an Angel of Glory's Rise and returned the Pilgrim, Sanctifier and his Valiant and went back up to 16, things got a bit more complicated. Well, certainly more complicated for Chang. After attacks, the score was 16-5 against him.

The next turn, Riecken added a Nightshade Pilgrim of his own to pair with his Voice of the Provinces and a Goldnight Redeemer to go all the way up to 30. Chang, who had once had a seemingly strong position, was losing control – and fast.

Chang played more slowly now. On his next turn, after some thought, he simply paid all his required mana for his 3/4 flyer and passed the turn back. His only hope was the Stern Mentor he had paired with a lowly Alchemist's Apprentice . There was no way he was going to deal 30 damage. But both methods seemed possibly hopeless, as Chang was at 5, and there were a lot of things going Riecken's way.

Riecken attacked with just about everything. The swine jumped in front of the Nearheath Pilgrim . The Angel of Glory's Rise was blocked by Gryff Vanguard and Fettergeist . Valiant traded with Peddler, and Stern Mentor took out the 1/1 Human token. Chang fell to 1.

Riecken's attack seemed really silly. He basically traded all his remaining creatures for all of Chang's. It took me a second to realize why he had done what he had. Then I saw the writing on the wall. Though Chang had a little smile on his face as he watched Riecken bin his creatures, when Riecken cast Defy Death on his Angel of Glory's Rise and returned, well, just about everything. Wait, let me double-check. Yeah, just about everything.

Chang took his time and considered his options. He knocked the top of his deck. He look at his card. He conceded.

Steven Riecken 1 – 0 Morgan Chang

Steven Riecken

Game 2

Again Chang started his game with a Wingcrafter , then paired it with a Trusted Forcemage . Riecken just played an Angelic Wall , Holy Justiciar and a Gallows at Willow Hill . That seemed like a strong start to me. It appeared as such to his opponent as well.

Chang tried to hide his feelings of frustration, but the showed through just barely. He cast Amass the Components and passed his turn. On his next turn he asked to look at his sideboard. I thought he just wanted to stare at the Natural End he didn't board in.

Riecken had successfully turned on the Gallows when he cast a Thraben Valiant , which could spell serious trouble for Chang's Green-Blue deck. Chang cast an unbound Stern Mentor , and passed the turn after Riecken tapped his Trusted Forcemage .

Next, Riecken tapped out for a Voice of the Provinces and attacked for two. Chang had a Peel from Reality to bounce the tapper and his Forcemage before taking a few points. On Riecken's next turn, again Riecken made a seemingly uneven trade, but again a Defy Death on his Voice of the Provinces allowed him to refill his board. He now had the Angel, the wall and two Human tokens to Chang's friendless Wingcrafter . He wasn't alone forever, as a Nettle Swine bound to him soon after.

The two joined together to block the 5/5 Voice of the Provinces , but just like Riecken has seemingly done this whole match, he had just the card to take care of things. He cast Terrifying Presence to get the paired creatures and spare his own. The next turn, he took Chang down to 13.

The New Yorker was getting despondent. With each turn, Angels were dipping him more and more into the red (an Emancipation Angel had joined in on the fun), and his fist dug into his cheek as he leaned on it more and more.

After Angel of Glory's Rise made a return for game two, Chang knew his goose was cooked and his fist left his cheek to extend a hand to Steven Riecken who had just qualified for his first Pro Tour.

Steven Riecken 2 – 0 Morgan Chang

Congratulations to both players!

Finals - David Stroud vs. Jeremy Schofield

by Josh Bennett

And so a storybook weekend moved towards its final act. On one side, the Irresistable Force of Jeremy Schofield, a juggernaut who had swung haymaker after haymaker en route to a perfect swiss record, and all that with just one bye. On the other, David Stroud, understudy to the Immovable Object, who had lost both his Top 8 game 1's yet still stood in the Finals. Instead of a good luck handshake, Schofield offered a fist bump. Stroud accepted with a smile.

Game 1

Schofield chose to play and got on the board quickly with Butcher Ghoul and Moonlight Geist . Stroud was no slouch either, starting with Kruin Striker , then pairing it with Hanweir Lancer to hit for three. Schofield decided to chump with his Butcher Ghoul . He flew overhead for two and passed with four mana up.

Stroud summoned Trusted Forcemage then attacked with both Striker and Lancer. Righteous Blow took care of the Striker, and Butcher Ghoul looked to ambush the unpaired Lancer, but Stroud had Snare the Skies . Another hit for two from Schofield, and this time he played Midvast Protector . Stroud untapped and summoned Mad Prophet , swinging in with a pair of 3/3s. Schofield was down to twelve.

David Stroud

He hit back for two in the air and played Voice of the Provinces . Stroud looted away a mountain and cast Nettle Swine , pairing it to his Hanweir Lancer and upgrading his board to "scary". Schofield considered things briefly, then hit with his Voice of the Provinces , leaving Stroud at eleven. Schofield passed with six mana open. Stroud wasted no time summoning Archwing Dragon and smashing in with all his creatures. Schofield was in a pickle. Moonlight Geist blocked the Dragon. Midvast Protector blocked the Lancer. That meant Schofield was down to three, and Thunderbolt finished the job.

Stroud 1 - Schofield 0

Game 2

Schofield kicked off with a Blood Artist , then immediately picked it up with Emancipation Angel . Meanwhile Stroud was building a board of Scalding Devil and Angel's Tomb . Schofield hit him for three in the air, then played Riders of Gavony , naming Human. Stroud played a fourth land and passed.

Schofield swung in, and Wolfir Avenger from Stroud flipped the script. Suddenly Schofield's two most threatening creatures were off the board. It meant losing the Avenger, but it was completely worth it. Stroud untapped and played Hanweir Lancer unpaired. Schofield paired a Moonlight Geist with his Gateguards and got in for two. A post-combat Blood Artist forced Stroud to respond with Thunderbolt on the Geist.

Stroud cast Kessig Malcontents , doing two, and totally locking up the ground with first Strikers. Schofield played Bloodflow Connoisseur but could not attack. Stroud shot him with the Scalding Devil . Next came Guise of Fire to get rid of the Bloodflow Connoisseur , and still more land to fuel the Devil. Schofield couldn't find another flier, just a hapless Farbog Explorer . Stroud continued to sting him with the Devil, building toward nine mana. Schofield added Butcher Ghoul and his life total continued to drop.

Stroud was content with the action of his Scalding Devil and saw no reason to change tack. Schofield hit for one with his Butcher Ghoul but Stroud wasn't about to give him a Blood Artist trigger. The Devil brought him to ten. Stroud cast Heirs of Stromkirk and played a land as his last card. The clock was ticking for Schofield.

Schofield got more ambitious with his attacks, sending in the Gateguards, the Explore r and the Butcher Ghoul . Stroud's first strikers teamed up to kill the Gateguards and he took the rest. He was down to nine. Two more pings evened the score at eight apiece. He hit with his Heirs and took a reflective pause, saying "This is what's known as 'Creating Drama'."

Jeremy Schofield

Eventually he chose to play out his Kruin Striker . Schofield untapped and started counting. He swung in with both Shade and Butcher Ghoul . He had four swamps to his name. Kruin Striker jumped in front of the Shade, and Schofield was happy to get two triggers out of his Blood Artist . After he played Cathedral Sanctifier s and got shot by the Devil, the life totals were ten to six in his favor.

Not for long, though. Trusted Forcemage off the top turned the Heirs into 4/4s and evened the score at six apiece. Schofield untapped and swung out with all his creatures save the Blood Artist . Stroud worked out some blocks. He went for Forcemage on the Sanctifier, Lancer on the Shade, Malcontents on the Explore r, and let the Butcher Ghoul through.

The result was Schofield at nine life. That's two pings at end of turn, an attack from the Heirs of Stromkirk , and then a couple more pings and the match.

David Stroud defeats Jeremy Schofield 2-0

Top 5 Cards of GP Vancouver

by Marc Calderaro

5) Borderland Ranger / Abundant Growth

Borderland Ranger

When you're playing Sealed, and you have a lot of powerful cards spread across multiple colors, mana fixers can be the most important cards you see. Just ask Top 8 competitor Steven Riecken. Having three Abundant Growth s in his Sealed pool allowed him to splash some significant blue cards basically for free.

Green has the format's deepest common run. So, you're all but guaranteed at least a fair amount of green. These two quiet powerhouses ensure that even if you green is too thin for a two-color deck you'll have no problem stretching it to three. That's doubly important in Avacyn Restored because of the scarcity of real removal, where a third color can give you outs to cards you would otherwise scoop to.

4) Trusted Forcemage

Trusted Forcemage

Green's marquee common, Trusted Forcemage performs a lot of functions, from

helping to make the early drops more productive, to pouring on the pressure with evasive creatures. The centerpiece of many a brutal curve-out, it is the card thatallows aggressive decks to get the jump on clunky decks trying win the long gameon the back of cards like Amass the Components . Trusted Forcemage is one of the best commons in one of the best colors, and this weekend, there was very little that showed otherwise.

3) Thatcher Revolt

Thatcher Revolt

Thatcher Revolt continually pops up and accentuates the role that

archetypes play in this format. Pretty much the poster-child for "build-arounds", this is a card that you never want to take too early and risk winding up with nothing that abuses it. Red-White Humans has been this format's boogey man; the deck lurking around that everyone hopes no one else at the table is drafting. If you live the dream you're unbeatable. Goldnight Commander , anyone?

Top 8 competitor Marcin Siesinski used it in surprising fashion: He went completely Mono-Red and sported a full six-pack of Revolts. Though he had few true enablers - just a pair of Kruin Striker s, a Riot Ringleader and a Banners Raised - his deck could come out so fast with such regularity that even a late Revolte that was just three damage could mean victory.

2) Blood Artist

Blood Artist

This was the key card out of Mr. I-Can't-Seem-To-Lose, Jeremey Schofield's Top 8 deck. Everyone talks about the speed of the format, but as Blood Artist has proven time and again, there are some ways to claw yourself back into the game from sheer, grinding advantages. Black has some of the best ways to force a long game, even against the fastest decks in the format. With this innocuous 0/1, for free, there's a way to gain extra advantage from every trade, every removal spell and every sacrifice. Oh yeah, and it's pretty inexpensive at that.

1) Scalding Devil

Scalding Devil

Just as Blood Artist gives black staying power, Scalding Devil gives red decks reach. And in the final game of this Grand Prix, we got to watch these two baby creatures both face off in a baby battle for the ages. The importance of tempo and unrelenting aggression in the format may steal the spotlight, but once a game goes long boards get bogged down. You need a way to push through those last few points. Scalding Devil is a great way to do so without having to sacrifice your mana curve. Just watch the final turns of the last game. The board is stalled but David Stroud is able to sneak in damage each and every turn. This is what separates the Devil from the Artist. Blood Artist thrives on a fluctuating board state, while Scalding Devil thrives on stasis. Is there nothing to do? Ping them. Don't want to add

another creature? Ping them. Stroud saw those pings as his path to victory and wound up hoisting the trophy.